Health & happiness

My Happiness Project

I recently read ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin and absolutely loved it. In the back of the book she poses four questions to start your own Happiness Project. In this post, I answer those questions in hopes of identifying what changes I could make, and have already made, on the road to happiness.

Gretchen Rubin wrote ‘The Happiness Project’ (and started a blog) to document her year-long search for happiness. She started by identifying what brought her joy, satisfaction and engagement. Next, she made resolutions: “concrete actions that will boost your happiness”. Each month she had different resolutions, related to love, friends, money and pursuing a passion (among many more). I loved reading his book; it was so recognizable and enlightening to read. I actually felt happier after turning each page.

I will probably devote more than one blogpost to this book; I literally underlined almost half of it. I thought answering these questions was a good way to start though. It’s interesting and fun to identify what makes you the happiest person you can be and what doesn’t; to become more aware of what you could do to increase your own happiness.

1. What makes you feel good?

Ever since I started this blog I have done a lot of soul-searching and given this question a lot of thought. What makes me feel good? I also find it so intriguing that as a child, this question was so much easier to answer. I think there was something exciting in every day, which unfortunately gets much harder as you get older.

When I stop thinking about the question and allow my mind to wander to the good things in my life, my blog is definitely one of them. Ever since I started this blog I have become excited again. I love everything about it, from browsing WordPress themes, to creating the website, deciding on the content, creating recipes and building my brand. It kind of makes me feel like a child again. When I was about 12 years old I loved to write – short stories, essays and even entire books. It was what I loved to do more than anything and what I spent all my free time doing. My blog has brought me back to that feeling and I couldn’t be happier about that.

2. What makes you feel bad?

So what makes me feel bad? What irritates, bores or frustrates me in my life? Unfortunately, quite a lot. I have some complicated family relationships that both frustrate and sadden me. I really don’t like driving 1.5 hours to work. I am really done with living in such a small apartment. I hate having one of those lazy days, usually a Saturday, where I just can’t seem to get off the couch. I’m tired, had a long week, and I want to do fun stuff and get the most out of my weekend. But I’m so lazy, I just stay inside all day and either watch movies or read. Nothing really wrong with that, except I get so bored and boredom is such a negative emotion. I know these are all small things (apart from the family stuff) but put together they can really distract me from feeling good.

3. Is there any way you don’t feel right about your life?

I had this feeling quite strongly before I started this blog. When I started university and realized I was pretty good at studying, I started seeing myself as a serious, hard worker. I let go of all my creativity and focused on getting my degree. There was a good reason for it – my father died when I was young and left my mother to fend for herself which, without a degree, isn’t easy. So I had a good reason to work hard and get myself a good job, but I also had a lot less fun. I didn’t write for fun anymore, I hardly ever read any books unless it was required reading and most importantly, I stopped seeing myself as a creative person. Which is ridiculous because we are all creative people.

I’m a terrible singer, I can’t play any musical instruments and I can’t draw or paint, but I do consider myself a creative person. I am pretty good at coming up with recipes, creating fun photos around them and I never have any trouble coming up with ideas for my blogposts. Ever since I’ve gotten this fun, playful part back I feel a lot more right about my life. I feel like I am on the right track to living up to my own expectations and being the happiest version of myself.

4. Do you have sources of an atmosphere of growth?

This question asks you to focus on the elements of your life in which you find progress, learning, challenge, or improvement. Hello, blogging! I’m sorry, it’s a common theme in this post, but it’s my happiness project after all! I still have so much to learn about blogging and I have many ways to improve, but it’s so much fun! As long as it’s fun, I’m going to keep on doing it. Yes it’s hard sometimes, especially to keep it up next to my PhD, but it’s so worth it. I love discovering more about the blogging world and the community. I also love improving and seeing my readership grow.

My overall resolution would be to continue on this ‘creative’ path I have set out for myself. Yes, I am serious and I work hard, but I also like to have fun and be creative, which is why I love blogging so much. And thanks to everyone reading this, because to know that even a small number of people took the time to read this post makes me very, very happy!

Emmelyn X

Ever thought about your own Happiness Project? Try to answer these questions for yourself, make resolutions and see what happens!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Barbara
    August 8, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Super Emmelyn, ik ga deze vragen ook voor mezelf beantwoorden. Ik zag het boek al liggen op Schiphol, maar twijfelde en twijfelde… Ik moet echt meer gaan lezen!
    Liefs, Barbara

    • Reply
      Healthynotskinny
      August 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Hey! Het boek is echt een aanrader, heb het in 1 of 2 dagen uitgelezen. Je wordt er zelf helemaal blij van X (fijne vakantie!)

  • Reply
    Kendra
    August 16, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    This is great. I have not read this book, but after reading this post I really want to!!! Defiantly adding it to my list 🙂

    Kendra | adjustingtoadulthood.com

    • Reply
      Healthynotskinny
      August 18, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks for commenting Kendra! Yes it’s a great book, I really felt myself getting happier after turning each page xx

  • Reply
    5 things I am grateful for | Healthy not Skinny
    August 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

    […] journal after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (read more about this wonderful book here). She started a gratitude journal hoping it would bring her joy and happiness, but unfortunately it […]

  • Reply
    5 things I am grateful for - Emmelyn Croes
    November 15, 2016 at 11:31 am

    […] journal after reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (read more about this wonderful book here). She started a gratitude journal hoping it would bring her joy and happiness, but unfortunately it […]

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